What is HECS?

Higher Education Contributions Scheme

 

HECS, or the Higher Education Contributions Scheme, was phased out after 2005. This original program charged all university students an upfront fee of $1,800 and the Commonwealth paid the balance. The student could then defer payment of the HECS debt and repay it through the tax system once their income reached a certain threshold amount.

Since 2005, the HECS was renamed and redesigned. It is now known as HECS-HELP and serves as both a student loan and discount*. Students who are eligible have access to this loan program to pay their student contribution amounts or receive a 10% discount on upfront payments of $500 or more.

 

To be eligible for HECS-HELP, you must:

  • Be studying in a Commonwealth-supported place
  • Be an Australian citizen, New Zealand Special Category Visa holder, or a permanent humanitarian visa holder
  • Enroll in each unit at your university by the census date
  • Meet the relevant HECS-HELP residency requirements
  • Read the HECS-HELP and Commonwealth supported places information booklet
  • Submit a valid Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form by the census date (or earlier administrative date) to your university

 

You start repaying your HELP debt through the taxation system once your repayment income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold amount. This is true even if you are continuing education when that threshold amount is met.

 

Repayment income includes your taxable income plus any of the following amounts:

  • Total net investment loss
  • Total reportable fringe benefits
  • Reportable superannuation contributions
  • Exempt foreign employment income
2017-2018 repayment income thresholds and rates:
Repayment Income Repayment Rate
Below $55,874 Nil
$55,874 – $62,238 4.0%
$62,239 – $68,602 4.5%
$68,603 – $72,207 5.0%
$72,208 – $77,618 5.5%
$77,619 – $84,062 6.0%
$84,063 – $88,486 6.5%
$88,487 – $97,377 7.0%
$97,378 – $103,765 7.5%
$103,766 and above 8.0%
2016-2017 repayment income thresholds and rates:
Repayment Income Repayment Rate
Below $54,869 Nil
$54,869-$61,119 4.0%
$61,120-$67,368 4.5%
$67,369-$70,909 5.0%
$70,910-$76,222 5.5%
$76,223-$82,550 6.0%
$82,551-$86,894 6.5%
$86,895-$95,626 7.0%
$95,627-$101,899 7.5%
$101,900 and above 8.0%

 

2015-2016 repayment income thresholds and rates:
Repayment Income Repayment Rate
Below $54,126 Nil
$54,126-$60,292 4.0%
$60,293-$66,456 4.5%
$66,457-$69,949 5.0%
$69,950-$75,190 5.5%
$75,191-$81,432 6.0%
$81,433-$85,718 6.5%
$85,719-$94,331 7.0%
$94,332-$100,519 7.5%
$100,520 and above 8.0%

 

2014-2015 repayment income thresholds and rates:

 

Repayment Income Repayment Rate
Below $53,345 Nil
$53,345-$59,421 4.0%
$59,422-$65,497 4.5%
$65,498-$68,939 5.0%
$68,940-$74,105 5.5%
$74,106-$80,257 6.0%
$80,258-$84,481 6.5%
$84,482-$92,970 7.0%
$92,971-$99,069 7.5%
$99,070 and above 8.0%

For more information, please visit the ATO website.

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